A UV Safety Month Message from U.S. Rep. John Garamendi

Hi, I’m Congressman John Garamendi from California, and my wife, Patti, is a member of the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program. Now July is UV Safety Month, and I want to make sure that you know how important it is to protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet, or UV, rays.

I’m a life-long rancher in California, I’ve spent a lot of time outdoors, so I’ve learned the hard way how vital it is to take care of my skin. That includes protecting it from the sun and getting an annual skin check. That’s how earlier this year I discovered I had cancerous cells, which were removed with Mohs surgery. Catching cancer early, like I did, often means it can be more easily treated.

UV radiation can cause basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma and can also lead to melanoma—you don’t want that one—that’s the deadliest kind of skin cancer. The sun is the most common form of UV exposure, but avoid tanning beds, they’re also a source and they should never be used.

The good news is you can take steps to protect yourself—you can bet my wife is making me take those same steps, and here they are. Watch out for the sun’s harmful rays. UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so be an early riser and stay around a little later in the afternoon, and take that nap. Try to avoid the sun during those hours, 10 to four.

A broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 will help protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. But that should not be your only source of protection. Wear long sleeves and pants or clothes with UV protection, as well as a hat and sunglasses.

Even on cloudy days, it’s important for you to take these steps to protect your skin.

You want to learn more? Visit prevent cancer dot org slash skin. Take care of yourself.

Listen to more Voices for Cancer Prevention on the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s YouTube channel.